Tapas are not only common in bars—at home, when guests arrive, it is common to serve a small homemade tapa or something to nibble before sitting down to the meal. What we Spaniards love about tapas is the philosophy of life they represent. I believe our climate, the sun, our wine, and our character help to elevate the ritual of tapas into a moment of pure delight. It is an unhurried, enjoyable and sociable time, and involves being in good company and catching up with friends, discussing business or even politics. This leaves us ready to go home with a much happier heart, and often ready for a siesta if the tapas have been plentiful.–Inés Ortega
LC When in Spain...Note
This recipe is also known as pulpo a la Gallega and is pretty much ubiquitous at bars and restaurants in Spain. There’s a reason for that. See for yourself.
Octopus with Paprika Recipe
Hands-On Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes, not including freezing | Serves 6
- 2 1/4 pounds octopus
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Pinch hot paprika
- Salt, optional
- 1. To tenderize the octopus, freeze it overnight before cooking. When you’re about 45 minutes away from your desired serving time, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the frozen octopus, and cook until tender, about 35 minutes, depending on the size and age of the octopus. You will need to test a piece of octopus to ensure it is cooked thoroughly. Drain the octopus and rinse under cold running water.
- 2. Remove and discard any dark skin from the octopus. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut the meat into bite-size pieces. Place the meat in a bowl, pour the oil over the top, sprinkle with hot paprika to taste, and season with salt, if desired. Mix well, ensuring the octopus is thoroughly coated. Serve immediately or transfer the octopus and oil to a heatproof bowl, cover with aluminum foil, and keep warm in an oven that’s as low as it goes.
Sweet Paprika Variation
- Heat 3/4 cup olive oil in a pan over low heat. Add about 1/4 of an onion, roughly chopped, and 1 garlic clove and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon and discard. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in sweet paprika to taste. Add the flavored oil to the octopus pieces, mix well, and serve immediately.
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Octopus with Paprika Recipe © 2010 Simone & Inés Ortega | José Andrés. Photo © 2010 Mauricio Salinas. All rights reserved.